Salt Lake City Aggravated Assault Defense Lawyer
Aggravated assault is a felony offense in Utah. If you are convicted of aggravated assault, not only will you face incarceration and debilitating fines – you will also take on the burden of a violent felony record, which can raise major obstacles when you are applying for jobs, loans, or apartments, when you are attempting to travel abroad, or if you are trying to join the military. Furthermore, a violent felony conviction will strip you of your gun privileges, making it unlawful for you to own or purchase firearms.
Faced with such serious consequences, you need to proactively protect yourself. Get qualified legal representation from a Salt Lake City aggravated assault lawyer with more than 16 years of experience handling violent felony charges in Utah. To set up a free consultation, contact Overson Law, PLLC online, or call (801) 758-2287 to speak with an attorney. We are here to help answer your aggravated assault questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
What is Aggravated Assault in Utah?
There are numerous types of assault offenses in Utah, such as assault against school employees (Utah Code § 76-5-102.3), assault by prisoner (Utah Code § 76-5-102.5), and assault against a peace officer (Utah Code § 76-5-102.4). The two most common assault crimes are “simple” assault and “aggravated” assault. While they share a similar name, the penalties for these crimes are very different. In short, aggravated assault is the more serious crime because it involves additional elements, like strangulation or the use of firearms.
Utah’s aggravated assault law is Utah Code § 76-5-103. Under the definition supplied by the law, aggravated assault involves many different details, each of which must be proven in order to obtain a conviction. For example, the state must first show that one of the following occurred:
- The defendant attempted to injure someone using “unlawful force or violence.”
- The defendant actually injured someone, again using “unlawful force or violence.”
- The defendant did something, using “unlawful force or violence,” that created a major injury risk to another person.
- The defendant threatened to injure someone, andthe threat was “accompanied by a show of immediate force or violence.”
Additionally, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant’s actions, attempted actions, or threatened actions involved one of the following factors:
- A “dangerous weapon,” which is broadly defined to include knives, guns, bats, and any other objects that can kill or seriously hurt people
- An act of choking or strangulation, described in the statute under Utah Code § 76-5-103(1)(b)(ii) as “any act that impedes… breathing or… circulation… [and] is likely to produce a loss of consciousness”
- Any other action that is likely to cause severe or fatal injuries
Aggravated Assault by Prisoner
A related offense is aggravated assault by prisoner, which is defined simply under Utah Code § 76-5-103.5 as any aggravated assault offense committed by an inmate. Any person that engages in this type of conduct can face enhanced penalties. For instance, according to Utah Code 76-5-103.5, they can face second degree felony charges if they did not cause serious bodily injuries. However, they might face first degree felony charges if they intentionally caused serious bodily injury upon another inmate.
Domestic Violence and Aggravated Assault
Domestic violence is a type of criminal offense that may involve different scenarios. You may be charged with domestic violence for things such as verbal and emotional abuse. However, physical contact against a spouse is the most common type of reason you can face this type of charge. Physical contact against a domestic partner or spouse can be classified as assault. If you are charged with assault, you may face criminal penalties. However, if your domestic violence charges include serious bodily injury, you may face aggravated assault charges.
We cannot stress the severity of criminal charges for domestic violence enough. If convicted, your life can change dramatically. However, before you are convicted, the prosecution in your case must show beyond any reasonable doubt that you are guilty of your charges. Our Utah criminal defense attorneys from Overson Law, PLLC, can help defend you against your criminal charges.
Is Aggravated Assault a Felony in Utah?
Unlike simple assault, which is a misdemeanor, aggravated assault is always a felony crime in Utah. However, the penalties can vary, depending on what type of felony the offense is graded as.
Other than capital felonies (which involve aggravated murder), there are three types of felonies in Utah: first degree felonies, second degree felonies, and third degree felonies. First degree felonies can be punished more severely than second degree felonies, which in turn, are more serious than third degree felonies. However, any felony charge is a major legal issue that requires urgent attention from an experienced criminal attorney.
As provided by Utah Code § 76-5-103(2)(a), aggravated assault is generally a third degree felony. However, there are two exceptions where aggravated assault is a second degree felony. These exceptions are:
- Cases where the victim has sustained serious physical injuries
- Cases where choking or strangling the victim resulted in a loss of consciousness
There is also one other exception: under Utah Code § 76-5-103(2)(b), aggravated assault is a first degree felony if it involves causing severe injuries to a police officer.
Aggravated assault by prisoner is either a first or second degree felony, depending on whether or not the inmate deliberately caused a serious physical injury.
What is the Penalty for Aggravated Assault in Utah?
The penalties for aggravated assault depend on how the offense is classified. Typically, Utah divides crimes into two main categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are categorized as lesser criminal offenses, which carry less severe criminal penalties. Generally, misdemeanors are classified into classes A, B, and C. If you are charged with a Class C misdemeanor in Utah, you will likely face the less severe type of criminal penalty, which may include little or no jail time – depending on your case – and fines. However, if you are charged with a Class A misdemeanor, you may face more severe consequences.
Felonies are the most severe type of criminal charges you can face in Utah. These types of offenses carry the most severe, punishing penalties, which may include many years in prison and steep fines. Utah divides felonies into degrees. The lower the degree number, the higher the criminal consequences for the convicted felon.
For instance, if the offense is a third degree felony, maximum penalties include a criminal fine of $5,000 and a prison sentence of five years. If a second degree felony, aggravated assault is punishable with fines of up to $10,000 and a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. When aggravated assault is a first degree felony, penalties may include a life sentence and maximum fines of $10,000. No matter the circumstances of your case, it is essential to have competent, skilled legal representation by your side at all times. Our Utah criminal defense attorneys can help you understand what to expect from your case, and defend your rights.
Differences Between Aggravated Assault and Attempted Murder in Salt Lake City, UT
Many people tend to believe aggravated assault and attempted murder can be used interchangeably or that, somehow, they are the same. However, this is not the case. There are several differences between these two criminal offenses. The main difference between aggravated assault and attempted murder is the end result. In aggravated assault cases, the defendant may not have the intention to kill the alleged victim, while in attempted murder cases, the defendant must have had the intent to kill the victim.
In attempted murder cases, the prosecutor must establish that the defendant intended to commit the crime and took steps to commit the intended result. In aggravated assault cases, the prosecutor must prove that you attempted to use unlawful force or violence to cause bodily injury upon another person intentionally or used a deadly weapon to produce serious bodily injury.
In our criminal justice system, you are innocent until proven guilty. It is the prosecution’s responsibility to establish beyond any reasonable doubt that you are guilty of your charges. At the law offices of Overson Law, PLLC, we can help you challenge the evidence presented by the prosecution and provide you with the quality, aggressive, and strategic criminal defense you require.
Additional Penalties for an Aggravated Assault Conviction in Salt Lake City, UT
In addition to the penalties we discussed previously, an aggravated assault conviction can lead to additional challenges. One of the most severe penalties you can get after your conviction is a criminal record. Your criminal conviction will appear on any background check, which can make it even more challenging for you to move on with your life.
Suppose you served your time after an aggravated assault conviction and paid your dues to society. At this point, you may want to get your life back together and move on. With a criminal conviction in your record, it may be extremely difficult to do things such as finding a new job, renting an apartment, or applying for a loan. However, this is not the only scenario where a criminal conviction in your record can significantly impact your future.
In Utah, you have the privilege of carrying a gun for personal protection. Utah allows people to carry an unloaded firearm without a “concealed carry permit.” If you do have the permit, you may carry your firearm with a bullet loaded in the chamber. However, this privilege may be in jeopardy after a criminal conviction. Granting a gun permit in Utah is subject to background checks, which means you may lose your gun privileges after a criminal conviction in Utah.
If you are undocumented and are residing in Utah, a criminal conviction may put your freedom and privileges at risk. If you are convicted of a crime such as aggravated assault – or any other misdemeanor or felony – you may be deported.
As you can see, a criminal conviction for a criminal offense such as aggravated assault in Utah can be extremely challenging. If you or a loved one was charged with this offense, you need to act quickly. Our Utah criminal defense attorneys understand your situation’s seriousness and are ready to defend and uphold your rights.
Salt Lake City Aggravated Assault Defense Attorney
At Overson Law, PLLC, we are dedicated to providing quality legal representation, as our track record of case outcomes shows. If you or a family member has been arrested for aggravated assault in Salt Lake City, Overson Law can work to reduce the penalties you face, or even attempt to have your charges dismissed, depending on the situation. We understand how challenging and frustrating dealing with your criminal charges can be. That is why we will dedicate all our efforts and resources to defending and upholding your rights as a defendant at all times. For a free legal consultation, contact our law offices online today, or call (801) 758-2287.